Taking advantage of the great weather, my son, Kurt, Dave, myself met in the wee hours of the morning at my buddy Kevin’s house. We were taking his 35′ deep in hopes of catching a few of the YFTs that are around. Loading up with all kinds of bai, we headed east. As always- expectations are very high. Conditions are perfect, the only negative was the water color, clean green, not blue. Life was not as abundant as we had hoped. Radio reports were not encouraging. we started out on the drift, chunking. It took about 10 minutes before we had life in the slick. Huge false Abies showed first, and they were hungry. It was a mad dog bite all morning before that slowed. A nice Mahi-Mahi was also boated and the life continued to build even if the bite on these fish slowed. We all kept saying its only a matter of time. Mid-day we put the troll spread out to look around. It didn’t produce any fish, but it did provide some great recon for later. Middle of the afternoon it finally came together. We seen another boat hook up on a popper after a incredible strike. The Albies were in our slick but this time the Skippies were here too!! Next thing we knew the YFT were eating the chunks right next to the boat!! Kurt hooked the first one, a nice 35lber which broke the ice. Then the screen lit up. My son had a wolf pack of jumbos smash his popper numerous times without any of the real ones coming tight. So did Dave, Kevin who was throwing a jig came tight on every cast while Kurt landed 2 more on bait. Talk about excitement!!! The action was incredible. Finally the right fish ate a live bait and Kurt grabbed the rod. After a very lengthy battle the hooked pulled 10’before I could stick the gaff into a YFT between 70-80lbs!! Another few good bites and a few more pulled hooks before I was finally able to get on a rod. I grabbed the dead stick baited with live bait set at 40′ that was right next to my chunking station. Luckily, it was not set on strike as the guys informed me that it had only 30lb leader. It was time for the “Old Guy” to teach the young pups how to fight a tuna fish!! Swatting away Kevins numerous attempts to tighten my drag, I warned them to stay away!! It didn’t take long before this tuna was doing the circles as I quickly had him under the boat. Thats when Erwin jr and Kevin did their best Ray Charles/Stevie Wonder impersonation with the gaffs!!!That really woke up this fish and it started all over again. Once again I had the tuna stretched out fighting for his life. It was not to long before Erwin jr got another chance and stuck the big hook right in the 12 ring!! Finally we had a decent size YFT on Kevin’s deck. Not huge but between 65-70 lbs, a great addition to the 3 that are all ready on ice. No time to celebrate as we still have plenty of life around and under this boat. We fished until after 7 pm hooking a few more jumbos but never finishing the deal. Just a tremendous day off shore!! A great ride home into a beautiful sunset. By time we finished up cleaning the boat, cutting the fish we all were pretty well spent!! No one was complaining to be sure. This was a trip to remember for many reasons!!
There are 2 critical components to fluking! First is mother nature, she needs to provide the right conditions. Second is angler ability! Sure there are days that the fish are committing suicide, but thats not common. With that being said I will say that my fluking has been very good depending on those 2 components. There is no coincidence that my same guys consistently catch over and above their limits,eeven on days that the conditions are very tough. Guys that give up, get tired jigging, are afraid of losing another jig cannot expect to put the numbers of fluke into the fluke hotel that my”A” teams do. Sometimes I cannot judge the fishing just on the number of fish caught on a given day. Fluking has been very good, if we did not catch on a certain day, most times it is not the fishes fault!!!
After very slow start to our fluking this year, it is as good as it gets at this point of the season. Limits are the norm with fish anywhere to 8.8 lbs this week. Its not suicidal fish and the guys have to fish hard. The rewards are a cooler full of the sweet white meat!! Hitman Sweeney had a few chances at jumbo fluke, finally holding on to his personal best that weighed 8.6 lbs. Lorne had his at 8.8 lbs , lots of fish 5-6 lbs, still looking for the first door mat of the season. With the weather looking good going forward, Im expecting the same kind of fishing this week. Just need the crew to make the investment in bucktails and gulp…..
Bob and his crew arrived at the right time, reports were very good and the weather was as good as it gets!! 88 miles later the lines went in the water. The excitement faded as the hours of nothing left that dull feeling over the boat. We had 2 shots of surfacing YFT missing them by seconds. Finally at 3pm we pulled the lines and set course for port. Our holds empty except for the many bags of ice that really wanted to be put to use. That was going to change after 15 miles towards home. I noticed a huge school of rays. Turning towards them and yelling to get ready, the startled crew, all ready tucked in the bean bags was not quite sure as to what was happening. My first cast came tight on the fall and we were tight on our first yet of the day. After a hour we only had on nice one in the box, but we did have great action, having 3 on at a time, could have had 4 but my favorite jigging outfit was no longer with us, ask me about that, and for whatever reasons could not finish the deal. Extremely frustrating but at least we landed one. A great way to end a very dull day in the deep!!!
The fishing comes down to 2 very important things-first Mother Nature and second the fishermen. Some crews work harder then others, it does not matter on the bite, some groups will out fish other groups. Bob ” Hitman “- raised the bar to 9.6 lbs along with a 300lb Tiger shark that he fought on his fluke rod. Not to mention all the keepers he caught last Tuesday. Along with his crew they quickly filled the hotel and played catch and release with high quality fluke. Greg and his crew got dealt tough conditions. Matt and Zemp put a beat down on the fluke with Ricky and baby Ricky fighting a 300+Thresher. We finished off the week with Bob and his guys in a very fast, drift catch the most fluke on a trip this season. Just a Captains dream when the fish chew like they did for him and his guys. Nothing huge but 2 mid 6’sand most between 3-5lbs!!